Although Kevin Durant has not given any indications of his free-agency plans, Bill Simmons is willing to "bet the house" that the Golden State Warriors superstar winds up in the Big Apple this summer.
New York now has a pair of max contract slots after clearing salary in the Kristaps Porzingis trade last month.
That deadline deal only added fuel to the Durant-to-New York rumors. Within a week, the 10-time All-Star made it clear to reporters that he has "nothing to do with the Knicks":
That has done little to quiet the noise, though.
In fact, speculation only grew when Durant and Irving were spotted chatting in a hallway during All-Star Weekend in Charlotte in February:
Some believed Irving was talking about the Knicks having two max slots. While the Boston Celtics star did not reveal the nature of the conversation, he said that it was just him talking with one of his best friends:
"This is the stuff that doesn't make the league fun. It doesn't make the league fun. ... It's my life, right? It's two people talking, having a conversation. If this was the real world would it be anybody else's business. But it's a video of somebody assuming what we're talking about. Making an opinion about it. So why would I care about it? ... What I do with my life is my business. So it's none of yours; it's none of anybody's. It's not anybody's business. ... Everybody wants to hear me talk like this. Everybody wants every athlete to talk about bulls--t like this. ... It just makes no sense."
Of note, Durant called Irving "one of [his] best friends" in a December 2018 interview with The Athletic's Shams Charania.
It's worth remembering that Irving told the TD Garden crowd back in October that he planned on re-signing "if you guys will have me back." That phrasing appeared to give him the flexibility to leave without breaking his word. Last month, he told reporters "ask me July 1" when asked if planned on re-signing with the Celtics. He added, though, that Boston is "still at the head of the race."
A lot can change over the course of the next three-plus months. Both Durant's Warriors (50-23) and Irving's Celtics (44-31) are viewed among the top contenders in the NBA. The results of the postseason could go a long way in influencing their respective decisions.